Winter Patterns and Projects

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I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I woke up this morning suddenly aware that winter is coming! This year I am planning on doing a couple of handmade gifts for Christmas, as well as sewing much more of my winter wardrobe, and I’ve realised that I’m going to need to get a wriggle on and do some planning! Looking back at my Autumn Sewing Plans post, I’ve managed to make quite a few of the things I was planning for, as well as a lot of extras I didn’t plan for! My particular favourites have been the Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Dress (of which I have made many) as well as the Tilly and the Buttons Coco. However, I am yet to make Mathilde or the ByHandLondon Charlotte Skirt, both of which are now rolling on over in to my winter sewing agenda!

In addition to those, I have added the following to my sewing agenda for the next few weeks:

wren dress

The Colette Patterns Wren Dress has been taking the sewing community by storm since its release a couple of weeks back. I loved making the Colette Patterns Moneta, so I have high hopes for the Wren Dress. It’s a style which I think will be very flattering on my figure if I can get the fit right, so I am planning to whip one up in one of the jersey fabrics that I bought at Stoffmarktholland. I think maybe a jewel tone purple could be great for a Christmas dress with a nice blingy necklace?!

mccalls 6886

The McCall’s 6886 dress is also on my list – it looks like a great staple basic to make for work! I’ve seen a couple of people on Instagram post great photos of these – the shape of the pattern looks really versatile for many different fabric colours. The sleeveless version might also make a great dress for my Cambodian holiday!

In addition to that I’m also planning a second Grainline Studios Morris Blazer in Navy (post coming soon on the first one!)

As if that wasn’t enough, I couldn’t help but be tempted by Sew Magazine’s Chris Moose.

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How cute does he look? I’ve got to find time to squeeze him in!

So that’s going to be me busy stitching for the next few weeks! I’m also going to be learning to use my new overlocker which the PB bought me for my birthday (and the best ever boyfriend award goes to …. *drum roll*), so watch out for more news on that soon as I learn to thread the blighter! Fingers crossed it’s not as scary as people would have you believe! Wish me luck!

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Cuddly Cushions

My Sunday sewing challenge this week came courtesy of one of my lovely girl friends, who was looking for me to whizz up some new cushion covers for her pillows. We agreed she’d bring them round and I’d see what I could do while we had a bit of a natter.

My friend added some extra fun to the challenge by choosing some lovely wool stretch knits to cover the cushions in! I’d never done cushions in stretch before, but thought I would give it a go. These are the fabrics that my friend brought round:

The following two are actually the same fabric, just the right side and the wrong side. What I love about this fabric is the little sparkly bits that shine through. Subtle but still a touch of glamour!
  

I actually love these fabrics so much, I kind of wish I had found them for a clothing project. I might head over to Karstadt and get some to make a jacket or a dress, they are just so lovely!

We weren’t really making covers for the pillows as much as covering them permanently, so the technique was nice and easy. Essentially I cut the fabric on the fold, about one centimetre smaller on each side to account for the stretch (there’s nothing worse than a saggy cushion cover!) I then sewed up on both long sides in a normal running stitch. This then left us with a tube which we stuffed the pillow in – it was a bit like pulling on a pair of tights! Then I left my lovely friend to hand sew the final short end opening closed while I got on with the next one. In the end we had a nice little assembly line going!

I’m always a bit nervous to sew up things for other people, especially when they have paid for fabric. I never want the final result to look dodgy and they feel disappointed. In the end though the pillows turned out great – I wish I’d made them for my couch! The best thing about them is that they are nice and soft and cuddly on account of the wool. They’re also nice and plump due to the covers being stretched over the pillows. I love them and I think they look quite chic!

Here’s a before and after:

Before …

… and After …

I hope my friend enjoys cuddling them as much as I did! What a great job she did on choosing the fabric, don’t you agree? How about you? Do you sew things up for friends? Have you ever used jersey knit for pillows? I’d love to hear about it!

Bettine Dress in Bird Print

If you have been following my blog for a while, you will already know that I have a small obsession with Tilly and the Button’s Bettine Dress pattern. Since buying the pattern, I have already made two of these, one in chambray and one in floral jersey. Today I want to share my third with you!

This Bettine  is made of a rather expensive jersey in the most adorable bird print! I cut my usual size – 7 on top and 5 on the bottom and it came together quite nicely. I’m starting to wonder if I could go to 6 on the top and 5 on the bottom though to take some fullness out around the width of my back. As usual I also took out the tulip style skirt – for some reason this just isn’t flattering for my figure and also doesn’t seem to work so well in jersey. I normally sew up as normal and then just take the extra curve out by taking in about 1.5cm at the deepest part of the curve, which has been working for me quite well.


In terms of the construction of this dress, I could have kicked myself a little with the neckband. I’ve ended up with a bit of a pucker on one side. On reflection now I really wish I’d unpicked it and done it again as it bugs me knowing it is there. I don’t think you’d really notice unless I point it out but it annoys me anyway! Funny how you can make a dress three times and still get it wrong on the third go when the other two went just fine!

The other special thing about this dress is that the fabric rolls up on itself all the time! It is so frustrating and no amount of ironing seems to help! As a result the bottom hem seems to be a bit dodgy … Any top tips for that people? To me it just proves my argument that I really do need an overlocker! Apart from that complaint though this fabric is a real treat. It’s so comfortable to wear and I love the fun print.

I thought this might be a good time to introduce you all to Maud – my new dressmaker’s dummy. I was very fortunate to acquire her for a mere 25 euros from a lady who was clearing out her sewing studio. She wasn’t quite as busty as me on top so at the moment she is wearing some rather funky sock padded undergarments. As a result she must remain fully clothed at all times. The undergarments really seem to do the trick though! Maud is mainly here for me to take blog photos, pin hems and display my work, so it’s ok that she’s not quite my size. Right now the PB and I are just getting used to having her around in our lounge! You may be seeing more of her soon!

So here is Maud in my finished Bettine:

Do any of you have a dressmaker’s dummy? How did you get her to suit your shape? Any tips on working with rolly knits? I’d love to hear from you!

Fabric Market Haul

Last Sunday I was thrilled to have my long awaited trip to fabric market! As I missed the last fabric market due to being on holiday, I’d waited a whole six months for this one, and needless to say I was a touch excited! It turned out to be a beautifully sunny and crisp autumn day – perfect for rummaging through stalls and fondling fabric! Filled with excitement, I set off with my IKEA bag and shopping list!

The first couple of stalls are a real treasure trove and mix of fabric! Everything is 5 euros per meter, so it’s certainly worth a rummage! For me the prints were a bit wild for the pieces on my list, and as I’d promised I’d only buy fabric with a project in mind, I stepped away! My first stop was one of the many stalls selling notions – I got 3 meters of interfacing for a bargain 4 euros, as well as a couple of 400m spools of thread in black, white and grey, some new chalk and a bargain button packet of pearly buttons for a euro. I also got a package of ribbed knitting for cuffs and sweatshirt hems which was really great! I was also very proud that I’d kept my promise to myself not to buy any zips or fat quarters in cute prints, despite how attractively priced they are!

I proceeded with my haul in tow to do a good couple of rounds of the stalls. My main stash expansion need was jersey as I am really loving sewing all things jersey right now. I found a great jersey stall where all jersey was 5 euros per meter and came away with these lovely fabrics:


Believe it or not I have plans for all of these already – the grey and black light jerseys are to become either MIY Brightside Shrugs or MIY T-Shirts for Cambodia. The stripy jersey is also for my Cambodia wardrobe and should also become a t-shirt, potentially with funky contrast sleeves. The pink jersey is actually more of a jewel tone purple in real life – it’s destined to become another Moneta. As for the red and white spotty – that was my impulse by – I’m planning on that becoming a Sew Over It Wrap Dress or maybe another jersey Bettine (yes I am considering a 4th Bettine Dress!)

In addition to these beauties, I was also on the look out for sweatshirt fabric to make another Burda sweater for my Dad. I came across an amazing stall that just sold sweatshirt fabric – they had so many designs and colours. I thought it was amazing and such a treat as many of the shops here have a really limited selection. Unfortunately I couldn’t go too wild – at the end of the day I want to make a sweatshirt my Dad will wear, so settled on this sensible navy! I love how fleecy the inside is!

Following all of those purchases I was starting to run out of cash, but I was still missing a couple of key fabrics. I was searching for the perfect stable knit to make a Coco Dress and came across this gorgeous charcoal grey, along with this funky faux leather remnant:

If you’d like to see if these picks were a Coco Match Made in Heaven, check out my Coco Dress post to see the finished result!

My final purchase was a stable stretch knit with a shimmer … I was on the hunt for some jersey to make the Grainline Studios Morris Blazer and to be honest this wasn’t the colour I’d had in mind, but when I saw this fabric it sent my imagination running! I’m not sure it’s going to have enough drape for the blazer so I’m still contemplating whether or not to use it for that, but I shall see how the mood takes me and keep you updated!


So here’s my final haul! I had such an amazing day out – spent lots of money of course, but I can safely say I am now well stocked with fabric until at least Christmas! And all of this fabric was bought at a considerably lower price than it would have been had I bought it in store, which makes me feel a bit better! I can’t wait to get sewing and to show you how my projects turn out!

Oo La La Coco Dress!

Tilly and the Buttons’ Coco Dress has been on my sewing list for a while, so I was delighted to get some time to give it a go today! I’d ordered the pattern a while back and it had unfortunately been out of stock, so when my pattern packet arrived I was all the more excited.

  

Coco is a really versatile pattern, offering long sleeve t-shirt, dress, cuff and cowl neck options. I’d bought the pattern as I had plans for a cowl neck dress, so to be honest I see the other options as a bonus! I’ll definitely return to make a couple of the top versions as it is so easy and fun to sew! 

Fabric for a Coco was on my Stoffmarktholland shopping list. The pattern calls for knit fabric with not too much stretch, and I was delighted to find this charcoal grey knit at the fabric market. I had initially planned to make a black version for work, but there is something about sewing with black that I find kind of boring, so charcoal grey seemed a great option. This fabric had a really lovely weighty feel to it, so I knew it would hold the shape of the dress well. It was also attractively priced whilst still feeling good quality. 

  
I decided I wanted to add contrasting pockets to this dress to stop it being too ‘grey’. I found a remnant of this faux leather at the market which the stall holder gave me at a significantly reduced price as it was the end of the roll. I thought it would be great for the pockets as it adds a bit of glam! It was also a good opportunity for me to continue to develop my love for leather, all be it fake! 

  
There aren’t many pattern pieces to Coco which makes it a great pattern to trace and sew in one day. I cut a size 6 all over, which was good for accommodating my bust. At the moment my fitting technique is to go off the bust measurement and take in everywhere else – particularly with this style of dress which is quite loose fitting and comfortable. I ended up taking in a centimeter on the sleeves and about 3cm on the waist. I decided to leave the flared skirt with the extra width on the hips as I thought it helps to balance out my figure. I also hemmed the sleeves to four centimeters. Tilly suggests two centimeters but seemed a bit long to me – who knows, maybe I have short arms?!

In terms of construction this dress came together really easily. Seeing as I do a lot of sewing with knits, I felt like my sewing machine and I had really found our groove. I also got to use the experience I gained at my sewing class with setting in sleeves which was great. I think otherwise I would have been genuinely perplexed as to how those two seams should come together! In the end, pins were my best friend and I got a great result. Not a single pucker – I was so proud! 

  
The other thing I was proud of with this make is that I finally took the time to learn how to thread the twin needle on my machine. What can I say apart from I wish I’d bothered to look this up in my manual earlier?! It really wasn’t hard at all and has made such a difference to the hem and cuffs. I love the finish – it just looks so professional! 

  

The patch pockets on this dress were a little fiddly as the faux leather didn’t press well. I was scared the whole time I was going to melt it so didn’t want to get the iron too hot! We got there in the end though! I was a bit nervous I was going to sew them on wonky as well as I was home alone and pinning them to myself while wearing the dress (where was the PB when I needed him?!) They seem to have turned out ok in the end though and I love the touch of glam that they bring to the dress!    

  

So here it is – my finished dress! I’m afraid the weather is not lending itself to light bright photos at the moment but such is life! 

  

Here’s a close up of my pocket placement … Not too wonky after all which is a relief! 
  

Overall I love this dress and its little pockets! I can’t wait to wear it out and about – it’s both comfortable and stylish! Another great pattern from Tilly – you can’t help but love the way she has thought of all the small but important things for home sewers, such as making her pattern sheets small enough to fit on a normal dining table. Always a pleasure to sew with Tilly – I’ll definitely be coming back for more of these. Maybe I’ll get round to making that black one after all?! 

 

Baby Gift Parcel

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Back at the beginning of the summer a friend of mine brought these two gorgeous flannel charm packs back from America for me. The blue and yellow pack became a comfy padded baby quilt for my brother and sister-in-law. When I later found out that their baby was going to be a girl, I couldn’t help but decide I had to make something with the pink one for them too!

As the flannel charm packs are super soft, I thought I’d make a patchwork cosy comforter for the baby. The front is a normal square patchwork and the back is some lovely white fleece. Due to the pre-cut charms, the top came together really quickly and easily. I then basted it together with the fleece and “quilted” diagonal half square triangles through both layers to give a nice pattern on the back of the white fleece. I then bound the blanket with some “bias binding strips” of fleece. On reflection, this was a really bad idea, as the fleece did not make nice mitred corners at all due to being much too thick, but hey, you live and learn! I hand sewed the binding down to the back of the quilt and I was so pleased, my hand sewing is coming on a treat! Here’s the finished blanket! Apologies about the photos – it’s so tough to get good photos with less and less daylight every day!

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I also decided that it wouldn’t be fair if all of my friends’ babies received an Ernest the Elephant and my own niece didn’t, so I set about making one of those too. I used some chambray scraps from my Bettine Dress for the body of the elephant. I can’t believe that the 2m of chambray I bought have now made a dress, espadrilles and an elephant and I still have some left! I love making things with scraps as I really hate waste! I also had a fat quarter of faux-suede in brown in my stash that I got free with a sewing magazine, and thought that a couple of pieces of that would make lovely snuggle soft ears. I love the Birch Fabrics free template for this pattern – it’s such a nice shape and the little knotted tail is such a cute detail! So here he is – my finished elephant! The jury is out as to whether he should be known as Edna or Egbert – I guess in the end we will let our niece decide when she’s here!

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Edna-Egbert was the first project where I got to use one of my new Make Amy Make labels! I loved being able to add a little label – it makes it feel more finished somehow!

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Both gifts went off in the post to England and are now in the nursery waiting for our arrival. Not long to go! How about you – do you like making gifts for friends and relatives? Have you made anything out of scraps recently that you’re proud of?

Make Your Own Espadrilles!

Hello Espadrilles!

In about six weeks, I am heading off to Cambodia in South East Asia for my holiday. Holidays have felt a bit of a long time coming this year, but it’s great to be excited and still have a trip to look forward to in November. As a result, my sewing is going to get distinctly summery around here for the next few weeks, as I try and pull together my first me made holiday wardrobe. Having been to Cambodia before, I’ve learnt that function is more important than fashion, so I will be focusing on some nice breezy T-shirts, as well as some cool and comfy trousers and maybe some kind of pull on dress for the pool/beach.  As most of my Cambodian outfits feature denim shorts, I thought a great option would be to make some super fun and comfortable espadrilles to pair with them!

So many fabric options …

You can buy the pattern and espadrille soles direct from Prym or any number of stockists in the UK, America and Germany. I was quite surprised to discover that they really aren’t difficult to get hold of. The box includes one pair of soles and a paper pattern. The pattern does not include seam allowances so you need to remember to add them on! (I will still never understand why pattern companies do this, ho hum). You then just need to pick out a fabric for your espadrilles and the fun can begin. Choosing the fabric was quite difficult for me – there were so many options I could have used in my stash and espadrilles are a great scrap buster project. In the end I settled for some left over scraps from my Chambray Bettine and a cute white and blue floral fat quarter as contrast which has been hanging around waiting for the right project for a while. Really though you could make these in practically any fabric and they would look great – you can really let your creativity run wild. I also decided to interface my fabric pieces, just to give the shoes more shape and stability.

After cutting and sewing the fabric pieces together with a sewing machine, you just turn them out and pin them on the shoe. This can be a bit fiddly, but is fine once you get going. You need to pin at an angle so that the pins just glide in to the sole and don’t pierce the rubber bottom.

Espadrille Porcupine

As you can see from the photo, my initial plan was to go fully denim. I had a last minute change of heart though and decided to go all out with the contrast on the outside. What’s the point of making your own shoes if you can’t be a bit wild right?! Once everything is pinned in place, it’s just a case of sewing the cotton uppers to the soles. You do this using a blanket stitch, which is probably the trickiest bit to get right. Once you get going though, it’s really easy. I found this YouTube video from The Makery really really useful. The video guides you through the whole process of making the espadrilles from start to finish and has some really handy hints for hiding the knots in the soles, changing threads, and keeping your tension right in blanket stitch. If you plan to make your own espadrilles, don’t start without watching the video first!

So here they are – the finished espadrilles!

I’m really pleased with them. I decided to use quite a chunky white thread and make a bit of a feature of the stitching and I really like the effect. The jury is out and there are many opinions on how to finish the side stitching of the uppers. I just went with running stitch, as per the Makery Video, but blanket stitch is also an option!

Here’s the finished product on my feet! I love wearing them, they are surprisingly comfortable. I can’t wait to wear them in Cambodia! I have a sneaking feeling next spring I might be making another pair of these – it’s like wearing your slippers outside! All in all a great make and something a bit different! A good opportunity to practice my normally terrible hand sewing too!

Retrospective: My First Dressmaking Course

Fabric Galore!

Back at the end of August, I decided to take the plunge with taking my sewing skills to the next level and signed myself up for a dressmaking course. For those of you who don’t stop by the blog often, up until now I have been completely self (youtube and blog) taught and have been surprisingly pleased with how much you can learn if you just give stuff a go. However, I thought it would be good to take the opportunity to see how the professionals do it, and also to make sure I am not picking up too many bad habits along the way. For me, the main objective was to learn more about fitting. I have had some success at making clothes, but have always steered clear of things with a fitted bodice due to my bust size. As a result, I decided to take on the Collette patterns Moneta dress so that I could learn some more about bodice fitting. So, now that class is over, I wanted to take some time to reflect – here’s a quick retrospective!

Here are some things that I loved about my sewing class:

  • I did indeed learn how to do better bodice fitting and have a finished make that I am delighted with and super proud of (watch out for a Moneta post soon when I manage to get some photos taken in daylight!)
  • I met some really nice people who share a love for what I do
  • I got to see what projects other people are tackling, which gave me the confidence to give some different styles a go. One lady was making a trench coat, and another a winter coat out of cashmere – this gave me something to aspire to!
  • Sewing in a sewing shop is great because you never have to worry about not having everything you need!
  • Pure uninterrupted sewing time
  • Cutting on the big sewing table – how much difference it makes to your back and it makes it so much easier to cut and adjust a pattern accurately when you don’t have to keep shifting fabric around
  • Learning some new techniques
  • Discovering that once you know some things about sewing, it’s ok to not always follow the pattern exactly – sometimes you might know a better way to do something!

Here are some of the things I didn’t love about sewing class:

  • The cost. Sewing in a sewing shop with a “tab” system where you are only allowed to use materials from the shop is perilously dangerous for your bank account. Things can add up quite easily! Thinking back and realising that I could have bought the overlock machine I’ve been coveting for what I’ve spent between the course fee and materials was a bit sobering.
  • Transporting my sewing machine and all my stuff to class on the train. I did not buy my Pfaff with transport in mind and she is HEAVY.
  • Getting home very late on a Tuesday evening.
  • My sewing teacher not really appreciating my “new-fangled Indie sewing patterns”
  • Learning to sew in German

That said, much of that doesn’t have much to do with the course itself, and has much more to do with personal preference. I really do feel like I learnt a lot, which I think justifies the expense and the carrying and the late evenings. Now, I am going to share my new found wisdom with you (I’m sure you all probably knew these things already, but I’m excited!)

  • The end of a tape measure has that little gold tab on it, not just to help you find the right end, but for you to use as a little ruler when you are making fabric markings with chalk/a dressmaker’s pencil! (I’m not sure why, but this particular fact seems to have excited me!)
  • My bust fitting issues can sometimes be fitted with some well-placed bust darts, and now I know where and how to add them.
  • Sometimes it is more important to be able to iron a seam allowance open than it is to use an overlocker (for example when adding side seam pockets)
  • I learnt that if a garment doesn’t look quite right once it is finished, it is worth going back and making that little extra adjustment – it can make the difference between wearing a garment and not wearing a garment
  • I can now draft a neckline facing all by myself (my sewing teacher did not approve of “just  hemming the raw edges of the neckline because that’s what it says in the pattern”
  • I now know how to add seam allowances precisely to a pattern which does not include them
  • I now know how to transfer pattern markings using thread markers
  • I now know you should always snip the centre of your pieces with a little mark – it might help you later
  • Always write down the adjustments you made on a slip of paper in the pattern envelope so you remember them next time
  • I also now know how to use the finished garment measurements on a pattern packet to stop me sewing up something that won’t fit me in the end (I’m looking at you chubby bingo wings and sleeve pattern pieces which are always too tight once sewn up!)

So all in all I think I learned a lot which will help me when sewing in the future, and I’m glad I went. I think I’m going to take a break from the evening classes for a while and maybe the next time I go to a class look for something on the weekend. This will eliminate much of my late evening, sewing machine carrying grumpiness. It would be so lovely to make some sewing friends here in Frankfurt, I think it’s worth it for that alone! So that’s my sewing class retrospective wrapped up – more on the actual garment and sewing process next time! How about you, have you visited a sewing class? Do you love sewing in the comfort of your own home, or getting out and about?

Trying Out New Materials: Leather

After an unsuccessful trip to the high street this afternoon (somehow since I have been sewing my own clothes, I never want to buy any clothes on the high street any more!) I popped in to Karstadt to have a peruse. I came across something I’d never seen before – a medium sized bag of Nappa leather scraps, for the bargain price of EUR 5,95. I really love leather, its soft and supple feeling and the way it smells. I think it’s my years and years of childhood spent around horses, cleaning and caring for leather and using it in the day today which has given me a real appreciation for it. I also appreciate that it is not the most animal friendly of materials – which for me makes it even more important to use every last scrap!  So anyway, ode to leather over, check out what I got in my scrap bag!

Scrap Leather Treasure!

I love the variety of colours and the fact that some of it is super soft and supple which is great for purses and elbow patches, where other pieces are more robust which will be good for things like notebook covers, brooches and appliqué. The majority of the pieces are of a really good size, so I think I’m going to be able to use most of it. The piece that attracted me most to buy the scrap bag was that big black piece at the front. If I’d have been on the high street and seen a purse or bag made of that I would have been all over it! As a result, I decided that a super soft coin and credit card purse would have to be my first leather make.

I cut out two squares from the black scraps, measuring 6 1/2 ” x 4 1/2″. I also chose this  cool grey geometric print fat quarter from my stash for the lining, which I also cut at 6 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ and a nice chunky gold 6″ zipper in the hope of adding a bit of glam!

Could this be a match made in heaven?

My first step was to stitch in one of my super cool new Make Amy Make labels to the lining. I’m now slightly wishing that I’d gotten them printed black text on white labels, for makes just like this, but at the time the blue seemed cool! You live and learn! After testing out the leather needle I’d inserted in my machine on a tiny left over scrap, I braved attaching the leather and lining to the zipper using Debby from Sew Sew Easy’s Cosmetic Bag tutorial as a reminder! I was super pleased with the zip insertion at this point and was surprisingly pleased with how my machine was coping with sewing on leather.

So far so good …

At this point I was really pleased with my choice of zipper as well! I think the chunky bling adds a little something!

Zipper goodness!

I then proceeded to top stitch along the leather to hold the lining in place. Throughout the zip insertion process I was helped along considerably by my favourite little helpers – wonder clips! As leather doesn’t like to be pinned (those nasty pins leave a mark which will stay forever!) these little clips were really handy for keeping the zipper in place and “pinning” wrong sides together etc.

I only really ran in to trouble at the point where I needed to sew from the lining up and over the zipper tapes. My machine did not like having to deal with sewing leather plus the zipper tapes, leather seam allowance from the zip insertion and lining fabric all at once. The feed dogs also struggled throughout and I’m thinking I should maybe have adjusted my presser foot pressure (I should really learn how and when to do that!) Together, we found a way though, and we got there in the end!

Here’s the finished product being modelled by a friend of mine … can you tell I like Dachshunds?!

The corners are a little squiffy and the zipper sure ain’t perfect where I sewed those zipper tapes in, but all in all I am so happy with my first foray in to sewing with leather! When I think that I’ve now got a completely useable real leather purse for a total cost of about 3 euros (the majority of which is the zipper), I feel pretty pleased with myself! I will definitely be using this one in my handbag come Monday morning!

Now I just need to think what else I could do with my leather scraps … I’ve been doing some research and have come up with this little list:

  • Leather Bow hair clip
  • Leather Bow Brooch
  • Necklace pendant
  • Notebook covers for my mini notebooks
  • Tassles (who doesn’t want to adorn things with tassles?!)
  • Fringing (see above – fringing is in right now right?!)
  • Elbow patches for my McCall’s M6992
  • Tote Bag Straps
  • Applique shapes
  • Credit card wallet
  • Travel Card Holder
  • Luggage Tags
  • Flower Brooches/Hairclips
  • Mobile phone envelope cover
  • Pouch/drawstring bag for holding jewellery
  • Tie Belt

So yeah – lots of things to practice my leather sewing skills on with these scraps! Maybe one day I will be brave enough to make a proper bag – a big tote seems a good place to start! Have any of you ever sewn with leather? Any top tips or project ideas for me?

Bright and Flowery McCall’s M6992 

Back in August I spotted the McCall’s M6992 on Just Jax’s blog. She had made a rather fetching elephant print version, and I wrote down the pattern number in my notebook for something to have a look at later. Then I sort of forgot all about it until the weather started to get chilly and autumnal and I realised that I would love a raglan sleeve sweater. There’s been lot of noise recently about the Lane Raglan, but the McCall’s M6992 was available on Amazon to purchase right here in Germany at a very reasonable price and with free delivery so I decided it would be just the ticket. Thanks Mode-Schnitte.de!

When I went fabric shopping for this top, I sort of decided I would let the fabric inspire me. This is a great pattern for being able to use an exciting print, so I settled on this really bright floral. I’m not normally a floral person, but I have to say since I have been sewing my own wardrobe, the amount of exciting prints and colours in my wardrobe has increased ten fold! I just feel so much more adventurous than when I go shopping on the high street – do any of you find that?! I wanted to make view B, the contrast sleeve version, so I paired the bright floral with a lovely black thick jersey knit that has a sort of shine to it. What is extra exciting about this pattern is it only requires 1.5m of fabric, so it’s purse friendly too!

Overall I was delighted with the finished garment. This has to have been one of my favourite garments to sew and I was really pleased with the finish and fit. I cut a size 16, which was the largest size my pattern packet had to offer (I believe you can also buy a separate packet with larger sizes). As it was the largest size, I did something I never do and just cut the pattern right out of the tissue *gasp*. No tracing here! The sizing chart on the pattern packet wasn’t that helpful – I went from the bust measurement and knew after that I was winging it. None of my other measurements seemed to correspond well to any of the measurements on the packet, so I thought I’d just make up the largest size and take in as necessary. In the end, I was so delighted with the fit that next time I wouldn’t make any adjustments at all. This is one of those rare patterns that I made straight out of the packet, no adjustments and the sweater fits me perfectly and I love it just as it is!

I love it so much I’ve worn it twice already since I made it. We took a little road trip to Mainz to get me out and about again post surgery now I am feeling better and it was so sunny, I thought it would be a great time to wear bright florals! We found this beautiful church!

Which we decided would be a good photo opportunity for the jumper!

I plan to make a second one of these using the same black jersey for the sleeves, with a black lace layered over black jersey for the body. I am thinking it will be great for work in the winter – smart and warm! Funnily enough I am already on my way to starting the second one as I accidentally made two left sleeves for the floral version (yep – it’s hard to tell the right side from the wrong side of the fabric on a black jersey!) I’d already attached the cuff and everything, so that’s one sleeve down, one sleeve to go on version two! It would be a shame to waste it! I imagine this is the first of many McCall’s M6992 – it’s so versatile with so many different possible variations – I’m already imagining a whole wardrobe of them. It could do everything from Christmas jumper to light weight long-sleeve T-shirt and it’s great from a construction point too! This is certainly a pattern I would recommend purchasing!

How about you – do any of you have any pattern favourites? I’d love to hear all about them!

Psst! In case you haven’t entered yet – I am giving away a WHOLE BOX of vintage patterns here! Leave a comment on this post by midnight tonight and the box could be yours!